Corey Anderson bails for Bellator
After fighting the vast majority of his career in the UFC, former The Ultimate Fighter 19 light heavyweight tournament winner and ranked 205er Corey Anderson is headed to Bellator. Huh?
Corey Anderson has signed a multi-fight deal with Bellator, multiple sources told @arielhelwani.
Anderson was not a free agent, but recently asked for his release from the UFC and was granted it. pic.twitter.com/tLvrFsFDY0
— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) August 7, 2020
While it happens, it’s rare to see fighters ask to leave the UFC, and for that wish to be granted. But in Corey Anderson’s situation, it’s easy to see why.
The 30-year-old was on the best run of his career coming into 2020. With four consecutive wins, capped off with a decisive first-round TKO victory over Johnny Walker last November, the promotional veteran was nearing a title-shot against light heavyweight champion Jon Jones.
Then, in February, Anderson was KOd by Jan Blachowicz, and knocked back down the pecking order at 205-pounds.
Jan Blachowicz finishes Corey Anderson in the first round via KO.
Blachowicz called for a title shot next with (LHW Champ) Jon Jones sitting ringside. pic.twitter.com/Bg8LNyj26y
— Ta1jaN ㊗️ (@Ta1jaNx) February 16, 2020
When faced with another tough slog up the UFC light heavyweight rankings, or a change of scenery and quicker road to title-contention, Anderson chose the latter. Credit to the UFC for granting his release, knowing he’d likely end up joining their competition.
Now, Anderson heads to Bellator. There, he’ll likely have a shorter wait for a potential title-shot. Current Bellator heavyweight and light heavyweight champ, and former UFC contender, Ryan Bader is defending his 205-pound title later this month against Vadim Nemkov.
Should Anderson get a win in his debut against a top contender, a title-shot against the winner of Bader-Nemkov sometime next year would make a lot of sense.
Can you honestly – without looking – tell me that Corey Anderson and Ryan Bader haven’t already fought?
— Jack Slack (@JackSlackMMA) August 7, 2020